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High Blood Pressure

Also called: HBP, hypertension

A condition in which the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high.

Usually hypertension is defined as blood pressure above 140/90, and is considered severe if the pressure is above 180/120. High blood pressure often has no symptoms. Over time, if untreated, it can cause health conditions, such as heart disease and stroke. Eating a healthier diet with less salt, exercising regularly, and taking medications can help lower blood pressure.



How it spreads

By blood products (unclean needles or unscreened blood). By mother to baby by pregnancy, labor, or nursing

Symptoms

Requires a medical diagnosis

High blood pressure often has no symptoms. Over time, if untreated, it can cause health conditions, such as heart disease and stroke.

This condition typically has no symptoms

Treatments

Treatment consists of self care and diuretics

Eating a healthier diet with less salt, exercising regularly, and taking medications can help lower blood pressure.

Ask a doctor

Source: American College of Cardiology

What are the benefits of treating hypertension? Treating hypertension significantly reduces the risks of stroke (20-30%), heart failure (30-40%), kidney damage (15-20%), and death (10-15%) due to a cardiovascular cause.

What blood pressure level requires medications? Medications are usually needed for repeated blood pressure measurements above 140/90 mmHg.

How many drugs do I need to treat my hypertension? On average, patients require between 2 and 4 different types of medications in order to properly control hypertension.

What type of medications are better for African Americans? Thiazide-type diuretics and calcium channel blockers can be more effective than ACE inhibitors in African Americans.

What should be the treatment goal? Current recommendations are a systolic blood pressure below 140 mmHg but in some cases, lowering further to 120 mmHg systolic may be beneficial.

Self-care

Physical exercise: Aerobic activity for 20-30 minutes 5 days a week improves cardiovascular health.

If injured, pursuing an activity that avoids the injured muscle group or joint can help maintain physical function while recovering.

Stress management: Pursuing an enjoyable activity or verbalizing frustration to reduce stress and improve mental health.

Smoking cessation: Quitting smoking tobacco.

Home blood pressure monitors: Regular monitoring of blood pressure can help diagnose high blood pressure.

Low sodium diet: A diet that restricts salt (sodium chloride) and other forms of sodium to no more than 1,500 to 2,400 mg per day.

Medications

ACE inhibitor: Relaxes blood vessels, lowers blood pressure and prevents diabetes-related kidney damage.

  • Lisinopril (Prinivil and Zestril)
  • Benazepril

Diuretic: Increases urine production to get rid of excess salt and water.

  • Hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide)
  • Triamterene (Dyrenium)
  • Chlorothiazide (Diuril)
  • Lisinopril / Hydrochlorothiazide (Zestoretic)
  • Chlortalidone (Thalitone)

Beta blocker: Slows heart rate and decreases blood pressure. When taken in eye-drop form, it reduces eye pressure.

  • Atenolol (Tenormin)
  • Metoprolol (Lopressor and Toprol) Nadolol (Corgard)
  • Labetalol (Trandate)
  • Bisoprolol (Zebeta)
  • Carvedilol (Coreg)

Antihypertensive drug: Lowers blood pressure.

  • Irbesartan (Avapro)
  • Candesartan (Atacand)
  • Felodipine (Plendil)
  • Telmisartan (Micardis)
  • Losartan (Cozaar)
  • Valsartan (Diovan)
  • Hydrochlorothiazide / Losartan (Hyzaar)

Calcium channel blocker:
Relaxes blood vessels.

  • Amlodipine (Norvasc)
  • Nifedipine (Procardia and Adalat)

Vasodilator:
Widens blood vessels.

  • Hydralazine

Note: The information you see describes what usually happens with a medical condition, but doesn't apply to everyone. This information isn't medical advice, so make sure to contact a healthcare provider if you have a medical problem. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or a emergency number immediately.

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